anxiety: 21 Articles

Helping Children Manage Big Emotions

Experiencing emotions is a vital part of being human. Emotions give us information, motivate us and prepare us to act, and give others information about how we are feeling. However, emotions can also be difficult to handle, particularly when the intensity of the emotion grows beyond what we can easily manage, as well as when they are more painful emotions like sadness, anxiety, shame, or guilt. When painful emotions become very intense (i.e., become “big” emotions), they tend to lead to impulsive behaviors, hard to control emotional thoughts, and intense physical sensations, such as tight muscles, an upset stomach, or a headache. Learning to manage painful, big emotions and particularly, to catch and soothe those emotions before they get too big, is an important ability for children to develop. Read on for tips on how to teach your child to handle their big emotions.  Name and Normalize Big Emotions We all experience emotions and they are important and helpful - even when they are not easy to experience. Teach your child that we all experience emotions and that they are important and helpful - even when they are not easy to experience. Brainstorm together about the emotions they experience and how they might be helpful. For example, feeling a little nervous before a test motivates them to study. Feeling guilty after saying something unkind reminds them to be more gentle in the future. Crying when they are sad lets an adult know that they might need help or want to talk.  If your child is not sure how to tell the difference between emotions, link emotions to body sensations. For example, anger often shows up as heat in the body while anxiety often causes tight muscles including tense, hunched shoulders and fists or a clenched jaw. The next time your child is experiencing an emotion, gently ask where they are feeling it in their body. This, along with practice noticing and naming emotions, is a foundational step of emotion awareness and regulation. Teach Coping Skills Teach your child a few simple coping skills to soothe their big emotions. It is helpful to match the skill to the intensity of the emotion being experienced as different skills help with different levels of emotional intensity. Kids also often benefit from a visual, such as an emotional thermometer where small (i.e., less intense) emotions are on the bottom part of the thermometer, medium are in the middle, and big are on the top.   A helpful coping skill for when emotions are less intense or “small,” is to practice helpful “self-talk.” This skill can be adapted depending on the situation, but the basic approach is to acknowledge that you are having a tough time and to encourage or coach yourself as you would a friend in the situation. For example, if your child is struggling with homework they might say “this is really hard! At the same time, I’m doing my best and can ask my teacher for help tomorrow.” As another example,

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Helping Children Manage Big Emotions 2021-06-01T23:07:12-04:00

Get Moving! Books to Celebrate National Physical Fitness Month

In honor of National Physical Fitness and Sports Month, we're reposting a piece from July 2020. It features books that get kids moving. Physical activity, whether it’s playing a sport, dancing, walking the dog, gardening, or riding a bike, can reduce stress and improve mood! Magination Press offers books for young children and teens that encourage physical movement or exercise. Bee Calm: The Buzz on Yoga by Frank J. Sileo, PhD, illustrated by Claire Keay, introduces kids to beginning yoga poses such as Mountain, Chair, Airplane, Cobra, and more. A note to parents and caregivers provides suggestions for introducing children to yoga and instructions for the poses in the story. Ready to start feeling better? Move and groove your way into a better mood! Move Your Mood!  by Brenda S. Miles, PhD, and Colleen A. Patterson, MA, illustrated by Holly Clifton-Brown, invites kids to explore their emotions through movement and introduces the idea that moving our bodies affects the way we feel inside. A note to parents, caregivers, and teachers provides suggestions for how to use the book with your child, and additional ideas for teaching your child about emotions. These books for teens provide more comprehensive guides toward self-care: Depression: A Teen's Guide to Survive and Thrive by Jacqueline B. Toner, PhD, and Claire A. B. Freeland, PhD, draws on Cognitive Behavior Therapy to help teens understand depression, and provides practical information on actions they can take to start feeling better. How to Feel Good: 20 Things Teens Can Do by Tricia Mangan, MA, offers strategies for teens to use to slow down and and pay attention to how they feel and what they think about themselves. Suggestions of "ways to be kind to your whole self" explore how caring for your physical body can improve your mood. Getting moving is a great way for kids and families to spend time together and feel better. If your child seems especially anxious or you are concerned about depression, please seek professional help. APA can help you find a psychologist near you.

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Get Moving! Books to Celebrate National Physical Fitness Month 2021-05-18T11:56:16-04:00

Stories About Friendly Bugs to Ease Cicada Anxiety

The cicadas are coming!  Kids in your life may be concerned about the impending influx of cicadas expected any minute now in some parts of the country. To help alleviate some worries, here are some Magination Press books that feature friendly bugs in fun stories. Lucy’s Light by Jo Rooks Lucy is a lightning bug and the most talented flyer in the squad. There's just one problem: she doesn't light up! When it's time to learn night flying, Lucy is anxious. She tries everything to get her light to shine but nothing works. Lucy is about to give up when her friends are captured by a nasty toad and his gang, who hatched a plan to brighten up their bog. Does Lucy have what it takes to save her friends? Or is she just an "ordinary" bug after all? A sweet story which shines a light on inner confidence, self-acceptance, and courage. Lucy learns that doing a good deed will always make you shine bright! Layla’s Luck by Jo Rooks  Layla is a ladybug with a lucky charm for every occasion: lucky socks for running, a lucky pencil for tests, and a lucky watering can for her flowers. When Layla enters a baking event, she is counting on her good luck to help her bake a delicious cake. But is luck the only ingredient that matters? A clever tale of a ladybug who learns that success comes from her own smarts, skill, and hard work — not lucky charms and chance. Doug’s Dung by Jo Rooks  Doug has trouble lifting heavy balls of dung. He just doesn’t feel as strong as the other dung beetles. When Doug feels down that he isn’t tough enough, a passing butterfly helps him see things in a different light and he realizes that strength comes in many forms. An uplifting story of a determined dung beetle who finds his unique strength in creating beautiful things inspired by nature, flowers, friends, and the garden. Bee Still: An Invitation to Meditation by Frank J. Sileo, PhD Bentley is a lovable, calm honeybee. He lives in a hive in a tall oak tree. One day, the queen told the bees to get busy. This sent them scrambling into a tizzy. But not Bentley. He chose to be patient and wait. He decided to look for a place to meditate. Bee Still is a child-friendly introduction to meditation. It includes a Note to Parents and Caregivers with more ideas for introducing meditation into your child's life. Bee Calm: The Buzz on Yoga  by Frank J. Sileo, PhD In this companion book to Bee Still: An Invitation to Meditation, Bentley Bee loves to fly around and visit his friends in the garden. One day, he notices all of them in unusual poses. What could it bee? Bentley's friends teach him several beginning yoga poses including Mountain, Chair, Airplane, Cobra, and more. Readers will love to follow Bentley and try the poses themselves as he gets buzzing all about

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Stories About Friendly Bugs to Ease Cicada Anxiety 2021-05-11T17:20:45-04:00